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Exercise, therapy and diet can all improve life during cancer treatment and boost survival. Here’s how

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p>With so many high-profile people <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/23/cancer-charities-princess-of-wales-speaking-about-diagnosis">diagnosed with cancer</a> we are confronted with the stark reality the disease can strike any of us at any time. There are also reports certain cancers are <a href="https://www.cancer.org/research/acs-research-news/facts-and-figures-2024.html">increasing among younger people</a> in their 30s and 40s.</p> <p>On the positive side, medical treatments for cancer are advancing very rapidly. Survival rates are <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21763">improving greatly</a> and some cancers are now being managed more as <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/survivorship/long-term-health-concerns/cancer-as-a-chronic-illness.html">long-term chronic diseases</a> rather than illnesses that will rapidly claim a patient’s life.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/managing-cancer/treatment-types.html">mainstays of cancer treatment</a> remain surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy. But there are other treatments and strategies – “adjunct” or supportive cancer care – that can have a powerful impact on a patient’s quality of life, survival and experience during cancer treatment.</p> <h2>Keep moving if you can</h2> <p>Physical exercise is now recognised as a <a href="https://www.exerciseismedicine.org/">medicine</a>. It can be tailored to the patient and their health issues to stimulate the body and build an internal environment where <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/tre.884">cancer is less likely to flourish</a>. It does this in a number of ways.</p> <p>Exercise provides a strong stimulus to our immune system, increasing the number of cancer-fighting immune cells in our blood circulation and infusing these into the tumour tissue <a href="https://jitc.bmj.com/content/9/7/e001872">to identify and kill cancer cells</a>.</p> <p>Our skeletal muscles (those attached to bone for movement) release signalling molecules called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7288608/">myokines</a>. The larger the muscle mass, the more myokines are released – even when a person is at rest. However, during and immediately after bouts of exercise, a further surge of myokines is secreted into the bloodstream. Myokines attach to immune cells, stimulating them to be better “hunter-killers”. Myokines also signal directly to cancer cells <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254623001175">slowing their growth and causing cell death</a>.</p> <p>Exercise can also greatly <a href="https://wchh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/tre.884">reduce the side effects of cancer treatment</a> such as fatigue, muscle and bone loss, and fat gain. And it reduces the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.7.1812">developing other chronic diseases</a> such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise can maintain or improve quality of life and mental health <a href="https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tbj/2022/9921575/">for patients with cancer</a>.</p> <p>Emerging research evidence indicates exercise might increase the effectiveness of mainstream treatments such as <a href="https://aacrjournals.org/cancerres/article/81/19/4889/670308/Effects-of-Exercise-on-Cancer-Treatment-Efficacy-A">chemotherapy</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41391-020-0245-z">radiation therapy</a>. Exercise is certainly essential for preparing the patient for any surgery to increase cardio-respiratory fitness, reduce systemic inflammation, and increase muscle mass, strength and physical function, and then <a href="https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(18)31270-2/fulltext">rehabilitating them after surgery</a>.</p> <p>These mechanisms explain why cancer patients who are physically active have much <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2019/06000/physical_activity_in_cancer_prevention_and.20.aspx">better survival outcomes</a> with the relative risk of death from cancer <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2019/06000/physical_activity_in_cancer_prevention_and.20.aspx">reduced by as much as 40–50%</a>.</p> <h2>Mental health helps</h2> <p>The second “tool” which has a major role in cancer management is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016045/">psycho-oncology</a>. It involves the psychological, social, behavioural and emotional aspects of cancer for not only the patient but also their carers and family. The aim is to maintain or improve quality of life and mental health aspects such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression, sexual health, coping strategies, personal identity and relationships.</p> <p>Supporting quality of life and happiness is important on their own, but these barometers <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/psychology/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1349880/full">can also impact</a> a patient’s physical health, response to exercise medicine, resilience to disease and to treatments.</p> <p>If a patient is highly distressed or anxious, their body can enter a flight or fight response. This creates an internal environment that is actually supportive of cancer progression <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet">through hormonal and inflammatory mechanisms</a>. So it’s essential their mental health is supported.</p> <h2>Putting the good things in: diet</h2> <p>A third therapy in the supportive cancer care toolbox is diet. A healthy diet <a href="https://www.cancer.org/cancer/survivorship/coping/nutrition/benefits.html">can support the body</a> to fight cancer and help it tolerate and recover from medical or surgical treatments.</p> <p>Inflammation provides a more fertile environment <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2022/reducing-inflammation-to-treat-cancer">for cancer cells</a>. If a patient is overweight with excessive fat tissue then a diet to reduce fat which is also anti-inflammatory can be very helpful. This <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.709435/full">generally means</a> avoiding processed foods and eating predominantly fresh food, locally sourced and mostly plant based.</p> <p>Muscle loss is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rco2.56">a side effect of all cancer treatments</a>. Resistance training exercise can help but people may need protein supplements or diet changes to make sure they get enough protein to build muscle. Older age and cancer treatments may reduce both the intake of protein and compromise absorption so <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561421005422">supplementation may be indicated</a>.</p> <p>Depending on the cancer and treatment, some patients may require highly specialised diet therapy. Some cancers such as pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and lung cancer can cause rapid and uncontrolled drops in body weight. This is called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233663/">cachexia and needs careful management</a>.</p> <p>Other cancers and treatments such as hormone therapy can cause rapid weight gain. This also needs careful monitoring and guidance so that, when a patient is clear of cancer, they are not left with higher risks of other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions that boost your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes).</p> <h2>Working as a team</h2> <p>These are three of the most powerful tools in the supportive care toolbox for people with cancer. None of them are “cures” for cancer, alone or together. But they can work in tandem with medical treatments to greatly improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>If you or someone you care about has cancer, national and state cancer councils and cancer-specific organisations can provide support.</p> <p>For exercise medicine support it is best to consult with an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Public/Consumer_Information/What_is_an_Accredited_Exercise_Physiologist_.aspx">accredited exercise physiologist</a>, for diet therapy an <a href="https://dietitiansaustralia.org.au/working-dietetics/standards-and-scope/role-accredited-practising-dietitian">accredited practising dietitian</a> and mental health support with a <a href="https://psychology.org.au/psychology/about-psychology/what-is-psychology">registered psychologist</a>. Some of these services are supported through Medicare on referral from a general practitioner.</p> <hr /> <p><em>For free and confidential cancer support call the <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/support-and-services/cancer-council-13-11-20">Cancer Council</a> on 13 11 20.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226720/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rob-newton-12124">Rob Newton</a>, Professor of Exercise Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/edith-cowan-university-720">Edith Cowan University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/exercise-therapy-and-diet-can-all-improve-life-during-cancer-treatment-and-boost-survival-heres-how-226720">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Seinfeld star's worrying health update

<p><em>Seinfeld</em> star Michael Richards has revealed his secret battle with prostate cancer in 2018, and how he only survived after making the decision to undergo surgery. </p> <p>Richards, who played the ever-eccentric Cosmo Kramer in the 1990s sitcom, received the stage one diagnosis after a routine check-up showed he had elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.</p> <p>He opened up about the diagnosis to <em>People</em> magazine, saying, “I thought, ‘Well, this is my time. I’m ready to go’.”</p> <p>“But then my son came to mind just a few seconds later, and I heard myself saying, ‘I’ve got a nine-year-old, and I’d like to be around for him. Is there any way I can get a little more life going?’”</p> <p>Richards’ doctor recommended removing the comedian’s entire prostate because the biopsy “didn’t look good”, as Richards explained it "had to be contained quickly”.</p> <p>“I had to go for the full surgery. If I hadn’t, I probably would have been dead in about eight months,” the 74-year-old said. </p> <p>After facing the difficult health battle, Richards felt inspired to write his forthcoming memoir, Entrances and Exits, using a collection of diaries he had kept over the years.</p> <p>“I had over 40 journals I’d kept over the years and wanted to do a full review of my life. I’m turning 75, so maybe wanting to do that is something that comes with being my age. I wanted to connect with feelings and memory,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“I’m surprised at how much I was able to remember.”</p> <p><em>Greg Grudt/UPI/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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If I’m diagnosed with one cancer, am I likely to get another?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-diepstraten-1495268">Sarah Diepstraten</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/walter-and-eliza-hall-institute-822">Walter and Eliza Hall Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-boyle-1521638">Terry Boyle</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Receiving a cancer diagnosis is life-changing and can cause a range of concerns about ongoing health.</p> <p>Fear of cancer returning is one of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9321869/">top health concerns</a>. And <a href="https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/cancer-information/living-well/after-cancer-treatment/fear-of-the-cancer-returning/managing-fear-of-recurrence/">managing this fear</a> is an important part of cancer treatment.</p> <p>But how likely is it to get cancer for a second time?</p> <h2>Why can cancer return?</h2> <p>While initial cancer treatment may seem successful, sometimes a few cancer cells remain dormant. Over time, these cancer cells can grow again and may start to cause symptoms.</p> <p>This is known as cancer recurrence: when a cancer returns after a period of remission. This period could be days, months or even years. The new cancer is the same type as the original cancer, but can sometimes grow in a new location through a process called <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-does-cancer-spread-to-other-parts-of-the-body-219616">metastasis</a>.</p> <p>Actor Hugh Jackman has gone public about his <a href="https://www.skincancer.org/blog/is-basal-cell-carcinoma-serious/">multiple diagnoses</a> of basal cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) over the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65158945">past decade</a>.</p> <p>The exact reason why cancer returns differs depending on the cancer type and the treatment received. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8486871/">Research</a> is <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cam4.3408">ongoing</a> to identify genes associated with cancers returning. This may eventually allow doctors to tailor treatments for high-risk people.</p> <h2>What are the chances of cancer returning?</h2> <p>The risk of cancer returning differs between cancers, and between <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019423/">sub-types</a> of the same cancer.</p> <p>New screening and treatment options have seen reductions in recurrence rates for many types of cancer. For example, between 2004 and 2019, the risk of colon cancer recurring dropped by <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2812113">31-68%</a>. It is important to remember that only someone’s treatment team can assess an individual’s personal risk of cancer returning.</p> <p>For most types of cancer, the highest risk of cancer returning is within the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31231898/">first three years</a> after entering remission. This is because any leftover cancer cells not killed by treatment are likely to start growing again sooner rather than later. Three years after entering remission, recurrence rates for most cancers decrease, meaning that every day that passes lowers the risk of the cancer returning.</p> <p>Every day that passes also increases the numbers of new discoveries, and cancer drugs being developed.</p> <h2>What about second, unrelated cancers?</h2> <p>Earlier this year, we learned Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-68047608">shortly after</a> being treated for breast cancer.</p> <p>Although details have not been confirmed, this is likely a new cancer that isn’t a recurrence or metastasis of the first one.</p> <p>Australian research from <a href="https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2407-11-83">Queensland</a> and <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.31247">Tasmania</a> shows adults who have had cancer have around a 6-36% higher risk of developing a second primary cancer compared to the risk of cancer in the general population.</p> <h2>Who’s at risk of another, unrelated cancer?</h2> <p>With improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment, people diagnosed with cancer are living longer than ever. This means they need to consider their long-term health, including their risk of developing another unrelated cancer.</p> <p>Reasons for such cancers <a href="https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-second-cancer">include</a> different types of cancers sharing the same kind of lifestyle, environmental and genetic risk factors.</p> <p>The increased risk is also likely partly due to the effects that some cancer treatments and imaging procedures have on the body. However, this increased risk is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6435077/">relatively small</a> when compared with the (sometimes lifesaving) benefits of these treatment and procedures.</p> <p>While a 6-36% greater chance of getting a second, unrelated cancer may seem large, only around 10-12% of participants developed a second cancer in the Australian studies we mentioned. Both had a median follow-up time of around five years.</p> <p>Similarly, in a <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.30164">large US study</a> only about one in 12 adult cancer patients developed a second type of cancer in the follow-up period (an average of seven years).</p> <p>The kind of first cancer you had also affects your risk of a second, unrelated cancer, as well as the type of second cancer you are at risk of. For example, in the two Australian studies we mentioned, the risk of a second cancer was greater for people with an initial diagnosis of head and neck cancer, or a haematological (blood) cancer.</p> <p>People diagnosed with cancer as a <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2020/212/3/second-primary-cancers-people-who-had-cancer-children-australian-childhood">child</a>, <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jayao.2022.0074">adolescent or young adult</a> also have a greater risk of a second, unrelated cancer.</p> <h2>What can I do to lower my risk?</h2> <p>Regular follow-up examinations can give peace of mind, and ensure any subsequent cancer is caught early, when there’s the best chance of successful treatment.</p> <p><a href="https://www.lymphoma.org.au/lymphoma/treatments/maintenance-therapy/">Maintenance therapy</a> may be used to reduce the risk of some types of cancer returning. However, despite ongoing <a href="https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/febs.15626">research</a>, there are no <em>specific</em> treatments against cancer recurrence or developing a second, unrelated cancer.</p> <p>But there are things you can do to help lower your general risk of cancer – not smoking, being physically active, eating well, maintaining a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol intake and being sun safe. These all reduce the chance of <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21719">cancer returning</a> and <a href="https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-second-cancer">getting a second cancer</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226386/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/sarah-diepstraten-1495268">Sarah Diepstraten</a>, Senior Research Officer, Blood Cells and Blood Cancer Division, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/walter-and-eliza-hall-institute-822">Walter and Eliza Hall Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/terry-boyle-1521638">Terry Boyle</a>, Senior Lecturer in Cancer Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-im-diagnosed-with-one-cancer-am-i-likely-to-get-another-226386">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Doctor beats cancer using his own treatment

<p>Australian doctor Richard Scolyer has been declared cancer free, thanks to a first-of-its-kind treatment he helped to develop.</p> <p>The 56-year-old professor, who has been recognised around for the world for his pioneering melanoma research, was diagnosed with aglioblastoma, a terminal kind of brain tumour, after suffering a seizure last June.</p> <p>After receiving his devastating diagnosis, the doctor agreed to be a "guinea pig" to undergo a world-first cancer treatment that he had a hand in developing. </p> <p>Now the world-leading pathologist and Australian of the Year has given a remarkable update, stating he is cancer free.</p> <p>“I had brain #MRI scan last Thursday looking for recurrent #glioblastoma (&/or treatment complications). I found out yesterday that there is still no sign of recurrence. I couldn’t be happier!!!!!” the professor shared on X, formerly known as Twitter.</p> <p>Before Dr Scolyer was diagnosed with cancer, he was fit and active, and had been hiking mountains in Poland with his wife.</p> <p>“I felt normal. I didn’t have any symptoms at all,” he told <em>A Current Affair</em> earlier this year.</p> <p>Just days after, he suffered a devastating seizure, and when he returned to Australia, underwent a series of tests which resulted in a diagnosis with glioblastoma – an aggressive and terminal form of brain cancer that would give him a average of 14 months to live. </p> <p>Teaming up with his friend and medical oncologist Georgina Long, Scolyer decided to undergo the new treatment, which came with a long list of risks. </p> <p>“No one knew what it was going to do, people were nervous because it could actually cause my life to end more quickly. But when you’re faced with certain death, it’s a no-brainer for me,” said Professor Scolyer, who also hoped the treatment would make a difference for other cancer patients.</p> <p>Dr Scolyer also underwent surgery to remove as much of his tumour as possible, and in April, he updated his social media followers to share that10 months after his diagnosis, his tumour had not returned. </p> <p>Speaking to ABC’s <em>Australian Story</em> at the time, Professor Scolyer said he was “blown away” by the results.</p> <p>“This is not what I expected. The average time to recurrence for the nasty type of brain cancer I’ve got is six months. So, to be out this far is amazing,” he said. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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"I love you all": Social media star announces her own death

<p>Social media star Kimberley Nix has passed away at the age of 31 after a gruelling battle with cancer, and has announced the news of her own death to her dedicated followers. </p> <p>The TikTok star, who has amassed a following of 143,000 people as she documented her cancer journey, spoke candidly in a pre-filmed video that was posted to her page, letting her followers know that her "journey here is over". </p> <p>Kimberley, who was also a doctor in training, told her fans that if they were seeing the heartbreaking clip, that she had "passed", before sharing that they had made her "so happy".</p> <p>She captioned the viral video, which has so far amassed more than 5.1 million views, "My journey here is over and I can't thank each and every one of you enough. You have all made me so happy and your comments and support are more than enough to have gotten anyone through anything!"</p> <p>"If you wish, please donate through my link in bio to sarcoma cancer research and follow my husband [Michael MacIsaac] in his updates."</p> <p>At the beginning of the clip, Kimberley said, "Hello followers, if you're seeing this clip, I have passed away peacefully. "</p> <p>Holding back tears, she said that she had a "very beautiful life" that she was "so proud" of. </p> <p>"Those who know me, know I love my pets, my husband, and makeup. And though being a doctor is a big part of my identity, those are the things that matter," she said during the heartbreaking clip.</p> <p>Kim went on to note that in 2021 she got the "opportunity to start making TikTok videos", admitting that she "never thought anything would come of it".</p> <p>"I shared about love, joy, and gratitude because in this journey, I was grateful for the people and the little moments."</p> <p>"Those little parts of your day, like that warm first sip of tea in the morning or how it feels when snow is fresh on your face, those are the most beautiful [moments]."</p> <p>At the end of the clip, she thanked her followers for helping her and said that they meant the world to her. </p> <p>"I can't thank you enough, I will miss you TikTok. I love you all. Thank you for this amazing opportunity, I am in happy tears because I have found so much purpose in the end of my life," she said.</p> <p>"Thank you from the bottom of my heart, goodbye."</p> <p>Kimberley was diagnosed with metastatic sarcoma, which is known as cell cancer, at just 28 years old, and she was finishing up her final year of her internal medicine core residency when she got the diagnosis. </p> <p>She is survived by her husband Michael, who she married in February. </p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

Caring

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Paris in spring, Bali in winter. How ‘bucket lists’ help cancer patients handle life and death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>In the 2007 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825232/">The Bucket List</a> Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two main characters who respond to their terminal cancer diagnoses by rejecting experimental treatment. Instead, they go on a range of energetic, overseas escapades.</p> <p>Since then, the term “bucket list” – a list of experiences or achievements to complete before you “kick the bucket” or die – has become common.</p> <p>You can read articles listing <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/11/cities-to-visit-before-you-die-according-to-50-travel-experts-and-only-one-is-in-the-us.html">the seven cities</a> you must visit before you die or <a href="https://www.qantas.com/travelinsider/en/trending/top-100-guide/best-things-to-do-and-see-in-australia-travel-bucket-list.html">the 100</a> Australian bucket-list travel experiences.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvdTpywTmQg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>But there is a more serious side to the idea behind bucket lists. One of the key forms of suffering at the end of life <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pon.4821">is regret</a> for things left unsaid or undone. So bucket lists can serve as a form of insurance against this potential regret.</p> <p>The bucket-list search for adventure, memories and meaning takes on a life of its own with a diagnosis of life-limiting illness.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14407833241251496">study</a> published this week, we spoke to 54 people living with cancer, and 28 of their friends and family. For many, a key bucket list item was travel.</p> <h2>Why is travel so important?</h2> <p>There are lots of reasons why travel plays such a central role in our ideas about a “life well-lived”. Travel is often linked to important <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2003.10.005">life transitions</a>: the youthful gap year, the journey to self-discovery in the 2010 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879870/">Eat Pray Love</a>, or the popular figure of the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/grey-nomad-lifestyle-provides-a-model-for-living-remotely-106074">grey nomad</a>”.</p> <p>The significance of travel is not merely in the destination, nor even in the journey. For many people, planning the travel is just as important. A cancer diagnosis affects people’s sense of control over their future, throwing into question their ability to write their own life story or plan their travel dreams.</p> <p>Mark, the recently retired husband of a woman with cancer, told us about their stalled travel plans: "We’re just in that part of our lives where we were going to jump in the caravan and do the big trip and all this sort of thing, and now [our plans are] on blocks in the shed."</p> <p>For others, a cancer diagnosis brought an urgent need to “tick things off” their bucket list. Asha, a woman living with breast cancer, told us she’d always been driven to “get things done” but the cancer diagnosis made this worse: "So, I had to do all the travel, I had to empty my bucket list now, which has kind of driven my partner round the bend."</p> <p>People’s travel dreams ranged from whale watching in Queensland to seeing polar bears in the Arctic, and from driving a caravan across the Nullarbor Plain to skiing in Switzerland.</p> <p>Nadia, who was 38 years old when we spoke to her, said travelling with her family had made important memories and given her a sense of vitality, despite her health struggles. She told us how being diagnosed with cancer had given her the chance to live her life at a younger age, rather than waiting for retirement: "In the last three years, I think I’ve lived more than a lot of 80-year-olds."</p> <h2>But travel is expensive</h2> <p>Of course, travel is expensive. It’s not by chance Nicholson’s character in The Bucket List is a billionaire.</p> <p>Some people we spoke to had emptied their savings, assuming they would no longer need to provide for aged care or retirement. Others had used insurance payouts or charity to make their bucket-list dreams come true.</p> <p>But not everyone can do this. Jim, a 60-year-old whose wife had been diagnosed with cancer, told us: "We’ve actually bought a new car and [been] talking about getting a new caravan […] But I’ve got to work. It’d be nice if there was a little money tree out the back but never mind."</p> <p>Not everyone’s bucket list items were expensive. Some chose to spend more time with loved ones, take up a new hobby or get a pet.</p> <p>Our study showed making plans to tick items off a list can give people a sense of self-determination and hope for the future. It was a way of exerting control in the face of an illness that can leave people feeling powerless. Asha said: "This disease is not going to control me. I am not going to sit still and do nothing. I want to go travel."</p> <h2>Something we ‘ought’ to do?</h2> <p>Bucket lists are also a symptom of a broader culture that emphasises conspicuous <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH_Pa1hOEVc">consumption</a> and <a href="https://productiveageinginstitute.org.au/">productivity</a>, even into the end of life.</p> <p>Indeed, people told us travelling could be exhausting, expensive and stressful, especially when they’re also living with the symptoms and side effects of treatment. Nevertheless, they felt travel was something they “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2021.1918016">ought</a>” to do.</p> <p>Travel can be deeply meaningful, as our study found. But a life well-lived need not be extravagant or adventurous. Finding what is meaningful is a deeply personal journey.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Names of study participants mentioned in this article are pseudonyms.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225682/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, ARC DECRA Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, Professor of Sociology &amp; Director, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/paris-in-spring-bali-in-winter-how-bucket-lists-help-cancer-patients-handle-life-and-death-225682">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Qantas apologises after rejecting cancer patient's refund request

<p>Qantas has issued an apology for rejecting a cancer patient's refund request after his case allegedly did not qualify based on “compassionate reasons”. </p> <p>Neil Ross, 62, decided to book a holiday to Cairns with his wife for a couple of weeks, but two weeks later he was diagnosed with face cancer. </p> <p>“It hit me like a rock,” Mr Ross told <em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“I wasn’t in the life of me, expecting that news.”</p> <p>The Brisbane local was initially told he had Bells Palsy, but was later diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo a 13-hour operation to remove the tumour, causing the right side of his face to be significantly disfigured. </p> <p>He underwent radiation almost every day for six weeks saying it “knocked him to no end”.</p> <p>“I was very thankful that my wife had helped me and still is helping me to get through this.”</p> <p>Ross is yet to be given the all-clear and is still undergoing treatments, including rehab following the loss of muscle mass. </p> <p>He will also undergo plastic surgery to reconstruct the right side of his face.</p> <p>“I had notified Flight Centre that I needed to cancel my flight due to finding out that I had cancer and that l needed treatment urgently,” he said. </p> <p>“As I said to the girl at Flight Centre – ‘look at my face, do you think I want to get a refund for the hell of it? I rather be healthy and go on holiday.”</p> <p>Ross said that the airline issued him a credit note until April 22 of this year, but with his current circumstances, he was unable to travel before that date and applied for a full refund. </p> <p>He also claims that despite sending two medical certificates - the first which stated that Ross was unfit to fly for 12 months, and the second which included detailed information about his condition -  it “did not meet requirements on compassion”.</p> <p>“I thought ‘what the hell, what more can I do?’ This has done nothing but cause me a great deal of stress that I don’t need,"  he said. </p> <p>Ross submitted two different refund requests, one on March 20, which was rejected on the fourth of April, and another on April 9 which was rejected two weeks later. </p> <p>The email from a Flight Centre representative reportedly said: "They have advised that ‘the attached medical certificate does not fit into the GF guidelines for a refund due to compassionate reasons’." </p> <p>According to <em>news.com.au</em>,  Qantas has since contacted Ross and issued a refund, after an error was made in processing the supplementary material, by not connecting it to the earlier application.</p> <p>“We apologise to Mr Ross for this experience and have let him know we’re processing a refund for him.”</p> <p>They have also reportedly apologised for any distress they may have caused and are investigating how the error occurred so that it doesn't happen again. </p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au/ Getty</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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King Charles returns to public duties for the first time since diagnosis

<p>King Charles has made his first official public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer in February. </p> <p>In a symbolic appearance on Tuesday morning, the royal visited the Macmillan Cancer Centre at the University College Hospital donning a navy pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt and a pink dinosaur tie.</p> <p>The monarch was joined by his wife, Queen Camilla, with the couple sporting huge smiles as they waved to the crowd outside of the London hospital. </p> <p>The royal couple met with clinicians, patients and families of patients during the visit, and when asked by one patient how his treatment was going, Charles replied: "I'm alright, thank you".</p> <p>In one photo Charles can be seen tenderly placing his hand on the arms of a patient as he spoke with them. </p> <p>One patient discussed her chemotherapy with Charles, who who told her: “I’ve got to have my treatment this afternoon as well,” according to the <em>Mirror</em>.</p> <p>He also shared his reaction to finding out about his diagnosis for the first time, telling one patient: “It’s always a bit of a shock, isn’t it, when they tell you?”</p> <p>The King's hospital visit comes just days after the Palace released a statement confirming that he was showing progress with his treatment and would be resuming official duties. </p> <p>“His Majesty The King will shortly return to public-facing duties after a period of treatment and recuperation following his recent cancer diagnosis,”  it read, before announcing the visit to the cancer centre. </p> <p>“This visit will be the first in a number of external engagements His Majesty will undertake in the weeks ahead.”</p> <p>Despite this, his upcoming summer schedule would not be a full one, with events like the King's Birthday parade, known as Trooping the Colour, and the Royal Ascot, being undertaken on a case-by-case basis. </p> <p>He also plans to host the Emperor and Empress of Japan in late June. </p> <p>“As the first anniversary of the Coronation approaches, Their Majesties remain deeply grateful for the many kindnesses and good wishes they have received from around the world throughout the joys and challenges of the past year,” the statement concluded. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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How niggling hip pain led a squash coach to life-saving cancer diagnosis

<p>Melbourne squash coach and player Malcolm McClarty had been experiencing frequent pain in his right hip area for about 12 months before he mentioned it to one of his clients, a top medical oncologist, in October last year.</p> <p>The 63-year-old father-of-three coaches Professor Niall Tebbutt at the Kooyong Lawn and Tennis Club in Melbourne. </p> <p>Despite having lost his younger sister to pancreatic cancer just months earlier, Malcolm had been brushing off the pain, thinking it was a niggling sporting injury. </p> <p>Now Malcolm credits Niall, who ordered a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA), with saving his life. </p> <p>Malcolm also coaches Weranja Ranasinghe, a urologist with the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand (USANZ), who has been his ‘unofficial second opinion’ throughout the journey. </p> <p>Associate Professor Ranasinghe says Malcolm’s diagnosis comes as the newly-released Lancet Commission on Prostate Cancer predicts cases worldwide will double from 1.4 million to 2.9 million by 2040. </p> <p>The USANZ says although the findings are alarming, Australia is well-placed to manage the spike thanks to availability of advanced diagnostic tools, improvements in treatments and quality control registries, but it needs to be coupled with more awareness. </p> <p>“Australia is better placed than many other nations to deal with a sharp spike in prostate cancer cases, but the urgent review of guidelines can’t come soon enough,” says Associate Professor Ranasinghe.</p> <p>“Prostate cancer is not commonly understood or spoken about, particularly amongst high-risk younger men, leaving too many in the dark about their cancer risk and that can be deadly,” he added. </p> <p>“Prostate cancer is already a major cause of death and disability, and the most common form of male cancer in more than 100 countries,” says Associate Professor Ranasinghe. “It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia with over 25,000 new cases every year, and more than 11 deaths a day.”</p> <p>Malcolm was devastated to learn his cancer was aggressive Stage Four and had spread to three spots in the pelvic bone. He also experienced other symptoms including frequent and weak-flow urinating at night. </p> <p>He will begin radiotherapy, with chemotherapy on the cards as well. But his attitude is positive; he’s hoping to live for another six to 10 years. </p> <p>Malcolm’s message for other men is simple: if you’re 50 or older, get tested for prostate cancer now. He warns waiting can lead to complex and limited treatment options. </p> <p><strong>Five Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer</strong></p> <p><strong>1.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Age</strong> - the chance of developing prostate cancer increases with age.</p> <p><strong>2.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Family history</strong> - if you have a first-degree male relative who developed prostate cancer, like a brother or father, your risk is higher than someone without such family history.</p> <p><strong>3.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Genetics</strong> - while prostate cancer can’t be inherited, a man can inherit certain genes that increase the risk.</p> <p><strong>4.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Diet</strong> - some evidence suggests that a diet high in processed meat, or foods high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.</p> <p><strong>5.<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Lifestyle</strong> - environment and lifestyle can also impact your risk, e.g. a sedentary lifestyle or being exposed to chemicals. </p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="https://www.usanz.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.usanz.org.au/</a></p>

Caring

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Cancer survivor slapped with $15,000 water bill

<p>An Aussie man has been slapped with a $15,645.86 water bill after the <span style="font-family: Inter, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Goulburn Mulwaree Council </span>claimed he had used more than 35,000 litres a day over 104 days. </p> <p>Anthony, who lives on his own in the Southern Tablelands, said that his bill is normally around $290 and that he uses about 130 litres of water a day, the average amount a person would use according to Sydney Water. </p> <p>"A 15-and-a-half thousand dollar water bill, they can go and get themselves nicked," he told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"I'm not paying it, no way in the world."</p> <p>The local mechanic is a cancer survivor, but the disease has made it difficult for him to communicate, so he went to a council meeting with his father, Neil, who talked on his behalf. </p> <p>"I couldn't believe it when he showed me the bill," Neil said. </p> <p>"Currently now, we're at this point in stage where we can't get any reasonable common sense from the council.</p> <p>"I said, 'It's got to be the crook meter', and she said, 'We've had a lot of meters tested and they've all come back positive. </p> <p>"And I said, 'What about this meter?' and she said, 'It'll cost you $50 to have it tested but there'll be nothing wrong with it'."</p> <p>Anthony is accused of using more than 3.6million litres of water,  which is equivalent to filling two Olympic sized swimming pools - or having five taps running all-day. </p> <p>He has received multiple emails from the local council asking him to prove his claim. </p> <p>The local mechanic also said that he received an overdue bill notice ordering him to pay it immediately. </p> <p>"I got an email saying I can have a payment plan and all the rest of it... like, get real," he said. </p> <p>"I'm not going to pay it."</p> <p>Anthony uses his own water tank to water his lawn, fill his fishpond and wash his car, and only uses town waters to wash up and shower. </p> <p>He has been asked to prepare a detailed letter of his water usage, which will be presented at a council meeting later this month.</p> <p><em>Image: Nine</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Tragic update on young Aussie Taylor Swift fan

<p>Nine-year-old Scarlett Oliver travelled all the way to Sydney from Perth to see Taylor Swift live, and to her surprise, she was chosen to receive gifts and a hat from the pop star as part of the iconic performance of her hit single <em>22</em>. </p> <p>The two even shared a big hug and the sweet moment went viral on social media. </p> <p>Scarlett was living with an aggressive form of brain cancer known as high-grade glioma, and now, just weeks after meeting her favourite singer,  Scarlett’s father took to social media to share a devastating update.</p> <p>“My Angel, so strong, so brave, so beautiful," Paul announced his daughter's passing on Instagram. </p> <p>"Nothing will ever be the same again.</p> <p>"Don’t forget me and please find a way to let me know you are OK.</p> <p>"Goodnight baby, I love you – Dad."</p> <p>"It’s just not fair,” he concluded the post. </p> <p>Scarlett died just days away from her 10th birthday on May 7. </p> <p>Earlier this month, Scarlett's father shared that his “beautiful” daughter was not doing well and likely had “weeks rather than months” left.</p> <p>He shared that she had spent most of her school holidays in hospital due to complications with her feeding tube, vomiting and "extreme tiredness". </p> <p>“Last night after discharge from hospital she suffered a significant seizure and was rushed to hospital via ambulance,” he wrote. </p> <p>Tributes are flowing in from fellow Swifties who shared their condolences on Instagram. </p> <p>“You were bigger than the whole sky …” one fan wrote, quoting the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song.</p> <p>“We all grieve for you and with you. May she rest in peace, free of pain and illness,” wrote another.</p> <p>“She touched so many hearts,” added a third. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty/ Don Arnold</em></p>

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Young and the Restless star passes away after cancer battle

<p>Veteran soap opera actress Meg Bennett has died at the of 75 after a lengthy battle with cancer. </p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/meg-bennett-dead-young-and-restless-1235878548/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Hollywood Reporter</em></a>, Bennett's family announced that she passed away on April 11th. </p> <p>Bennett had a prolific career in the world of soap operas as both a writer and actress, after working on high profile shows such as <em>The Young and the Restless</em>, <em>General Hospital</em>, <em>Santa Barbara</em> and many more. </p> <p>She became most known for her role on <em>The Young and the Restless</em>, appearing on 52 episodes from 1980–2020 playing the role of Julia Martin/Julia Newman, the spouse of Eric Braeden’s character Victor Newman.</p> <p>Bennett also had a stellar career on Broadway, appearing in the initial run of the musical <em>Grease</em> in 1972 playing the role of Marty Maraschino for more than two years.</p> <p>She also racked up a significant credit as a writer on a number of soaps, stepping behind the camera on <em>The Young and the Restless</em> after her character was phased out. </p> <p>In the interview in 1985, Bennett opened up about the differences in her approach to acting and writing.</p> <p>She said, "I'll admit, acting makes me a little crazy sometimes: You wait to audition. You wait for the part. When you're writing, you're in control. I can initiate things on my own when I'm writing."</p> <p>Bennett is survived by her spouse of 19 years Robert Guza Jr., as well as two stepdaughters, four grandchildren, a brother and a sister. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Caring

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Best-selling author diagnosed with "aggressive" brain cancer

<p>Best-selling author Sophie Kinsella has shared that she has been fighting "aggressive" brain cancer since the end of 2022. </p> <p>The British writer took to Instagram to reveal she was diagnosed with glioblastoma 18 months ago, and shared why she chose to keep the devatstsing news out of the spotlight. </p> <p>The 54-year-old said she wanted to "make sure my children were able to hear and process the news in privacy and adapt to our new normal" before going public with her diagnosis. </p> <p>"I have been under the care of the excellent team at University College Hospital in London and have had successful surgery and subsequent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which is still ongoing," she told her followers on Instagram.</p> <p>"At the moment all is stable and I am feeling generally very well, though I get very tired and my memory is even worse than it was before!"</p> <p>Kinsella said she is "so grateful to my family and close friends who have been an incredible support to me, and to the wonderful doctors and nurses who have treated me."</p> <p>She also thanked her readers for their "constant support", adding how the reception of her latest novel <em>The Burnout</em>, released in October 2023, "really buoyed me up during a difficult time."</p> <p>She ended her statement by saying, "To everyone who is suffering from cancer in any form I send love and best wishes, as well as to those who support them."</p> <p>"It can feel very lonely and scary to have a tough diagnosis, and the support and care of those around you means more than words can say."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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Brothers' epic journey across Australia to raise money for cancer

<p>Brothers Stefan and Lachlan Lamble have firsthand experience on how devastating cancer can be.</p> <p>The brothers, both in their 20s, lost their grandmother to breast cancer eight years ago, and recently had their other grandmother pull through a difficult cancer battle. </p> <p>After being inspired by their family's hardships, the Lamble brothers have set out on an epic adventure to cross Australia by foot in just 100 days. </p> <p>Stefan and Lachlan began their journey in Perth in February, and have spent 66 days so far battling difficult conditions while pushing their bodies to the limit. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5fNETERB0s/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5fNETERB0s/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Lambros (@lambrosarmy)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The pair are just days away from reaching Adelaide, and have had some trying times on their momentous journey so far. </p> <p>"One day reached 46 degrees and the soles of our shoes literally melted," Lachlan told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/brothers-tackle-momentous-100day-cross-country-challenge-for-cancer-research/bcf7f2f5-482a-4ef3-9ca2-f4a0412beed9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>. </p> <p>Their unwavering commitment to raising money for cancer research has garnered widespread support, with a legion of fans across the country cheering them on. </p> <p>"It gives us a bit of hope that there might be some new research, and that's all we can really hope for," she said.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C5z-9LaJtqS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C5z-9LaJtqS/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by 9News (@9news)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The brothers aimed to raise $100,000 before they reach their final destination of Melbourne, but with the help of their dedicated supports, they reached their financial goal just after their halfway mark. </p> <p>Now, the brothers have their sights set on a new goal: $1 million before the end of the year. </p> <p>"We are doing it for everyone back home that has been impacted by cancer, so please find it in your hearts to donate at <a href="https://www.acrf.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ACRF</a> (Australian Cancer Research Foundation)," Stefan said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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Silent cancers: here’s what you need to know when there are no obvious symptoms

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-stebbing-1405462">Justin Stebbing</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>The recent revelations about the Princess of Wales’s <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-68640917">cancer diagnosis</a> highlight a crucial aspect of cancer detection – the disease’s sometimes silent nature.</p> <p>Silent cancers are those without noticeable symptoms. They pose a unique challenge in early detection and treatment.</p> <p>Contrary to common perception, cancer does not always announce its presence through overt symptoms or obvious signs. Many people receive a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article-abstract/70/1/179/7283928">cancer diagnosis incidentally</a>, when it’s found during routine medical examinations or investigations for unrelated health concerns – as seems to be the case for both <a href="https://www.wsj.com/health/kate-middleton-catherine-cancer-what-is-preventative-chemotherapy-9625370d">the princess</a> and <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68171163">King Charles III</a>.</p> <p>While even silent cancers can sometimes be <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22584215/">aggressive and advance rapidly</a>, they can also remain <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20363069/">dormant</a> for years or <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8819710/">even decades</a>. Some <a href="https://ascopubs.org/doi/10.14694/EdBook_AM.2012.32.98">prostate</a>, <a href="https://ascopubs.org/doi/10.14694/EdBook_AM.2012.32.301">breast</a> and <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/endocrinology/articles/10.3389/fendo.2020.571421/full">thyroid</a> cancers, for example, <a href="https://www.tmlep.com/clinical-learning/2023-01-23-when-did-this-tumour-start-the-need-for-a-gompertzian-understanding-of-tumour-growth-kinetics">often evolve slowly</a> without obvious symptoms or spreading beyond the original area.</p> <p>Research suggests that some of these cancers are <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/endocrinology/articles/10.3389/fendo.2020.571421/full">overtreated</a>. Sometimes patients are best left alone or treated much more gently, perhaps even without medical intervention, using a <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1311593">“watch and wait”</a> strategy. This approach may be taken with prostate cancer in the elderly, for example.</p> <h2>The importance of early diagnosis</h2> <p>Whatever the cancer, it’s always important to get an early diagnosis though – and for silent cancers, this is obviously a challenge.</p> <p>Some cancer symptoms <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36702593/">can be vague</a> and easily mistaken for benign ailments. Fatigue, unexplained weight loss and persistent pain are among the nonspecific symptoms that may signal an underlying malignancy. But such symptoms can be misinterpreted or easily dismissed, which contributes to delayed diagnosis and treatment.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MGMy6BzBvp0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Fortunately, in many countries including the UK, we have <a href="https://www.england.nhs.uk/cancer/early-diagnosis/screening-and-earlier-diagnosis/">screening</a> tests for diseases like breast or colon cancer, to increase early diagnoses.</p> <p>Early diagnosis is a <a href="https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cncr.32887">key factor</a> for successful cancer treatment. Detecting cancer in its silent phase offers a window of opportunity for early intervention and improved outcomes. The discovery of asymptomatic cancers through diagnostic imaging or screening tests underscores the importance of these proactive healthcare measures.</p> <p>Identifying cancer at an early stage means the disease is confined to its site of origin, smaller and potentially easier to cure. Diagnosing a smaller cancer often means that if an operation is needed, it may be a less invasive surgery. There may also be a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825992/">lower chance</a> of needing post-operative preventative chemotherapy, to mop up any residual cells.</p> <p>Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a good example to show the critical importance of screening. Studies show that patients who participate in CRC <a href="https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/dg56/chapter/1-Recommendations">screening</a>, such as colonoscopies or tests that look for blood in the stool, are more likely to be diagnosed while asymptomatic and have more positive prognoses after treatment. Those diagnosed with CRC after showing symptoms, such as rectal bleeding or changes in bowel habits, tend to have more <a href="https://bmjopengastro.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000146%20">advanced tumors and poorer outcomes</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nA9_Io3LDpA?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Public health initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the importance of both cancer screening and symptom recognition play a pivotal role in reducing diagnostic delays. Empowering people to engage in <a href="https://healthcaredelivery.cancer.gov/prevention/#:%7E:text=Cancer%20can%20be%20prevented%20through,they%20are%20more%20easily%20treated.">preventive healthcare measures</a> such as HPV vaccinations and lifestyle changes that decrease risk can facilitate early detection and intervention, potentially altering the trajectory of the disease.</p> <h2>Biomarker discovery</h2> <p>The latest advances in diagnostic technologies, often known as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8012218/#:%7E:text=During%20biomarker%20discovery%2C%20evaluation%20of,design%20of%20future%20validation%20studies.">“biomarker discovery”</a>, hold promise for improving early detection rates and refining treatment strategies for silent cancers. From <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/molecular-profiling">molecular profiling</a> to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9922467/">liquid biopsy techniques</a> (blood tests to diagnose cancer), innovative approaches are reshaping the landscape of cancer diagnosis, offering new avenues for personalised and precision medicine.</p> <p>For example, I worked with a team using blood tests to identify cancers in more than <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41388-023-02591-z">1,000 women recalled after screening for mammography</a>. We looked at the DNA that tumour cells release – so-called <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10496721/">cell-free DNA</a> – and also metabolomics (rare markers related to metabolism in the blood). From this information, we found healthy patients, benign disease, pre-cancer and breast cancer. Although there’s increasing awareness and use of this <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1769721218307110">approach in Europe</a>, it isn’t standard in the UK.</p> <p>Asymptomatic cancers represent a formidable challenge for patient care. But, by encouraging patients to adopt preventive lifestyles and engage with screenings and tests, asymptomatic cancers don’t have to be a hidden threat to health.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226536/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/justin-stebbing-1405462">Justin Stebbing</a>, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/silent-cancers-heres-what-you-need-to-know-when-there-are-no-obvious-symptoms-226536">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The devastating way Shannen Doherty is preparing for death

<p>Shannen Doherty has shared the heart-breaking way she is preparing for her death. </p> <p>The former actress, who is battling stage 4 breast cancer, has candidly shared how she is cleaning out her home and downsizing her possessions to make for an “easier transition” for her mum, Rosa, when she dies.</p> <p>“My priority at the moment is my mum,” the actress said during an episode of her <em><a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-be-clear-with-shannen-doherty/id1718531401" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Let’s Be Clear</a></em><a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-be-clear-with-shannen-doherty/id1718531401" target="_blank" rel="noopener"> podcast</a>. “I know it’s going to be hard on her if I pass away before her.”</p> <p>She continued, “Because it’s going to be so hard on her, I want other things to be a lot easier. I don’t want her to have a bunch of stuff to deal with. I don’t want her to have four storage units filled with furniture.”</p> <p>The 52-year-old explained that over the years, she started going through her belongings to get rid of unnecessary clutter and donate things "just in case" anything happened to her. </p> <p>The actress most recently made a trip to her Tennessee home to pack up her belongings after she decided to let go of her dream of living on the property and fostering horses.</p> <p>“So we were in Tennessee and I was packing up one of the places there,” she continued. “It was really hard and really emotional because to a certain extent — I felt like I was giving up on this dream of building this property out, and putting a house for me and a house for my mum and then extending the barn.”</p> <p>“That was one of my dreams,” she said while tearing up.</p> <p>“I was packing up and I started crying … I felt like I was giving up on a dream and what did that mean for me? Did it mean that I was giving up on life? Did it mean that I was throwing in the towel?"</p> <p>“And my mom was there and she was like, ‘Don’t get rid of this place, it’s fine. You don’t have to and you can keep going.’ I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely I can.’”</p> <p>A week later, Doherty returned to the home to pack everything up and relocate her belongings to her home in California. </p> <p>The actress explained that letting go of the property and other possessions helps “leave behind a cleaner, easier transition” for her family.</p> <p>Through the process, Doherty has learned her belongings don’t bring her as much joy as making memories with her mum and loved ones.</p> <p>“It allows me to take more trips because I’m making money, I’m selling it,” she continued. “Then I get to build different memories and I build memories with the people that I love.</p> <p>“I get to take my mum on vacations because I have all this extra play money lying around and I’m not digging into the money that’s in my estate that’s going to make sure that everybody in my life is taken care of once I’m dead.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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Daughter's incredible gesture surprises her cancer-stricken mother

<p>A brave mother fighting cancer has burst into tears at her daughter's amazing display of solidarity, as her mum continues to battle through chemotherapy. </p> <p>Tracy Mulcahy has been fighting a devastating diagnosis of stage four high-grade ovarian cancer and had started to lose her hair after relentless chemo treatment. </p> <p>Tracy and her daughter Sophie headed to their local hairdressers, where they have become like family after seven years, where Sophie was given the task of shaving her mum's head. </p> <p>To everyone's surprise, Sophie was handed the razor and decided to shave off her own long blonde hair in an emotional display of solitary and strength.</p> <p>Both women burst into tears and held one another, while there was not a dry eye in the salon from other clients and hairdressers. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4h63b2rZYX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C4h63b2rZYX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by ⚡️SOUTH WEST BLONDE SPECIALIST ⚡️ (@bambiblonde__)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The heartwarming moment was captured by the Bambi Blonde salon and posted to their Instagram, where the post racked up hundreds of thousands of likes and comments of support from all over the world.</p> <p>"The whole salon was in tears," owner Claire Lovett said.</p> <p>Sophie has since revealed she decided to do it because she didn't want her mother to "go through this alone".</p> <p>"She means the absolute world to me. She's done everything she could to help me with any issues I've had in the past," Sophie told the Hit WA radio station.</p> <p>Tracy said her daughter's decision was "just insane", saying, "I saw her do it, and I'm like, no, please don't, please don't do this. I don't want you to go through what I'm going through."</p> <p>"I think when I sat down in that hairdresser's chair and prepared myself for the day, but when you actually sit in that chair and normally go to the hairdressers, it's obviously a positive experience." </p> <p>"And then to have to look in and see that there wasn't a lot of hair left at that point. And to see Sophie do that and sacrifice her own hair for me, it was just insane."</p> <p>The family have set up a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/tracys-battle-stage-4-high-grade-ovarian-cancer?utm_campaign=p_cp+fundraiser-sidebar&amp;utm_medium=copy_link_all&amp;utm_source=customer" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page to help with the costs of Tracy's treatment. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / GoFundMe</em></p>

Caring

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Announcing Kate Middleton’s cancer diagnosis should have been simple. But the palace let it get out of hand

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/victoria-fielding-236389">Victoria Fielding</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/saira-ali-1522239">Saira Ali</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>The British royal family is famous for its carefully curated media image. That’s why it was a surprise to see them lose control of the narrative in the wake of what we now know is a serious health crisis befalling Catherine, Princess of Wales (or Kate Middleton as she’s popularly known).</p> <p>It is clear the nearly 1,000-year-old institution of the monarchy and its tradition of “<a href="https://news.northeastern.edu/2024/03/14/kate-middleton-photo-pr-crisis/">never complain, never explain</a>” is being tested by social media and its power to spread rumours and misinformation. The palace’s public relations team has underestimated how difficult it is to manage relationships with social media audiences. Their reactive attempts to rein in speculation has turned Catherine’s health challenge into a PR disaster.</p> <p>Social media, with its lax regulations and freer environment, offers a more open forum for users to say whatever they like about the royals. It’s served as a hotbed for Catherine conspiracies, particularly on TikTok. These theories are as wild as they are ridiculous, from Catherine being a prisoner in the palace to her hiding in <a href="https://www.prdaily.com/kate-middleton-stanley-alabama-retail/">Taylor Swift’s London home</a>.</p> <p>What should have been a simple announcement to a sympathetic public about a popular royal having cancer turned into a spider’s web of competing conspiracy theories across social media. How did it all go so terribly wrong?</p> <h2>I’ve lost track, what happened?</h2> <p>All was well with the Prince and Princess of Wales when they were filmed attending church on Christmas Day. As usual when royals are out in public, the scene was picture perfect with everyone dutifully smiling for the cameras in “<a href="https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a46227698/kate-middleton-royal-blue-christmas-day-church-service-prince-william-kids/">co-ordinated</a>” outfits.</p> <p>Two weeks later, Kensington Palace announced Catherine had undergone planned abdominal surgery, with <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Culture/princess-kate-hospitalized-after-planned-abdominal-surgery-palace/story?id=106441561">palace sources</a> telling media the surgery had been “successful” and she would need two weeks to recover.</p> <p>On January 29, the palace announced Catherine had returned home to recuperate. <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a46569739/king-charles-discharged-from-hospital/">Unlike King Charles</a> when he released news of his cancer diagnosis on February 5, Catherine was not photographed leaving hospital. This was the first PR misstep. She had appeared outside hospital soon after giving birth to her three children, but this time she remained uncharacteristically out of the public eye.</p> <p>Almost a month later, when Prince William <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/prince-william-pulls-memorial-godfather-211406977.html?amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAG6tOzuXsqZXP6G2nLLd-lnWzZhYKHVJ5TJ-w5XCCfgMjerRrR8v1R8unjtcoQTbvPDsVt3mtTcZ_g0os6zwOuEFfMKCh0kfEExvz-dB2FG0uqcy6-GoryjvG99TEhMli66hNZLjLENmMhq1mwoV7GmM0AYezMDsZtZVtONH9C1b&amp;guccounter=2">unexpectedly withdrew</a> from his godfather’s memorial citing “personal reasons”, social media users started asking “Where is Princess Kate?”.</p> <p>Used to a steady stream of content about the royal family, the public were unsurprisingly questioning if there was more to Catherine’s abdominal surgery than they were being told.</p> <p>In a rare reactive move, the palace tried to quell questions about Catherine’s whereabouts by releasing a <a href="https://people.com/palace-responds-kate-middleton-conspiracy-theories-online-surgery-recovery-rare-statement-8602191">statement</a> reiterating that she would not be returning to public duties until Easter.</p> <p>On March 4, US outlet <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2024/03/04/kate-middleton-seen-spotted-public-first-time-mystery-hospitalization/">TMZ published</a> a paparazzi photo of Catherine driving with her mother. Social media audiences asked if it really was Catherine.</p> <p>Over the next week, conspiracy theories about Catherine’s absence reached frenzied levels. To show everything was fine, Kensington Palace released a <a href="https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1766750995445387393?s=20">Mother’s Day photo</a> of Catherine and her children on their social media accounts. Social media users spotted apparently edited flaws and global news agencies announced “<a href="https://apnews.com/article/kate-princess-photo-surgery-ca91acf667c87c6c70a7838347d6d4fb">kill orders</a>”, saying the image had been manipulated. The next day, Catherine <a href="https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1767135566645092616">apologised</a> on social media for editing the photo.</p> <p>Although royals have been <a href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a60191061/royal-photoshop-history/">editing their pictures</a> for centuries, it seems particularly digitally naive of the palace’s PR team to release such an obviously edited image into an already cynical social media environment, creating fodder for more conspiracy theories.</p> <p>Mainstream news outlets then joined social media users in asking questions about Catherine’s absence. Although this media attention did not legitimise wild conspiracies, in some ways it fuelled them.</p> <p>Days later, TMZ <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erWJNmbrECs">published footage</a> of Catherine and William shopping. At this point in the media chaos, many social media users claimed it was fake.</p> <p>This intense public speculation finally ended on March 23, when Catherine <a href="https://twitter.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1771235267837321694?s=20">released a video</a> explaining her extended absence after abdominal surgery was caused by the surgeons discovering cancer.</p> <p>During a crisis, the public crave transparency, authenticity, honesty and reassurance. These elements were missing in the royal PR team’s carefully worded statements made directly to mainstream media along with reactive, overly curated social media posts.</p> <p>By providing scant details, the palace seemed to believe they could control public perception. But public image is increasingly difficult to control.</p> <h2>The double-edged sword of social media</h2> <p>After Princess Diana’s death in a paparazzi-chase car accident, privacy laws and <a href="https://time.com/4914324/princess-diana-anniversary-paparazzi-tabloid-media/">media regulations</a> forbade the most invasive breaches of the royal family’s privacy, particularly for her children, princes William and Harry. However, tabloid appetite for uncontrolled access soon returned once the princes became adults.</p> <p>Recently, Harry and his wife Meghan have been involved in <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/prince-harry-his-many-lawsuits-against-press-2023-12-15/">several lawsuits</a> against media companies over breaches of privacy, including phone hacking.</p> <p>The rise of social media has typically been viewed as a tool that gives royals more control over their image through the curation of their own personal content. Previously, the fact Catherine was the one <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/kate-middleton-cutest-family-photos-2018-5">taking photos</a> of her children was seen as a sign of authenticity and being down to earth (as much as a princess could be).</p> <p>Yet, social media is both a blessing and a curse for the management of public reputations.</p> <p>The perpetuation of contested facts and theories on social media in the wake of Princess Catherine’s unexplained absence shows how difficult it is to curate a controlled image using social media. Lack of verified information in mainstream media helps fuel speculative flames.</p> <p>While <a href="https://www.thedrum.com/news/2024/03/22/where-the-palace-lost-the-plot-and-what-we-can-learn-about-pr-and-empathy-kategate">PR experts</a> believe it is understandable and appropriate for Catherine and her family to have privacy during this time, more timely, direct and honest communication would have gone a long way to prevent relentless gossip.</p> <p>Once rumours and conspiracies gained momentum, the palace perhaps thought the less information provided, the better. However, silence during a crisis just fuels more speculation because the lack of information makes it look like there is something to hide.</p> <p>Catherine’s personal video announcing her cancer diagnosis helped end the social media frenzy. This shows a simple, clear statement posted by Kensington Palace to social media weeks ago would likely have avoided the PR disaster and provided Catherine the privacy she so clearly needs.</p> <p>The palace is now <a href="https://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/2986509/kate-middleton-cancer-pr-disaster/">being criticised</a> for complicating a situation that was relatively simple in retrospect. Many social media users are also upset Catherine took public blame for the photoshopping incident.</p> <p>Any organisation that deals with the media to maintain positive reputations, including the British monarchy, has no choice but to adapt to all kinds of media, including social media. The long-time practice of keeping calm and carrying on amid controversy and the 24-hour gossip cycle doesn’t work in the era of TikTok, X and YouTube.</p> <p>In the absence of trusted information, social media will do what it does best: take mostly innocuous online chatter and amplify it until it goes viral.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226490/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/victoria-fielding-236389">Victoria Fielding</a>, Lecturer, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/saira-ali-1522239">Saira Ali</a>, Senior Lecturer in Media, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/announcing-kate-middletons-cancer-diagnosis-should-have-been-simple-but-the-palace-let-it-get-out-of-hand-226490">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Princess of Wales and King Charles: one in two people develop cancer during their lives – the diseases and treatments explained

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p>The Princess of Wales released a <a href="https://x.com/KensingtonRoyal/status/1771235267837321694?s=20">moving video message</a> on March 22 to address speculation about her health. In it, the future queen disclosed that she’d been <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68641710">diagnosed with cancer</a> following tests conducted after she underwent major abdominal surgery at a clinic in London in January.</p> <p>Catherine explained that she was undergoing “preventative chemotherapy” – but emphasised that her surgery had been successful, and that she was “well” and “getting stronger every day”.</p> <p>The message was the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/22/princess-kate-cancer-royal-family-health-annus-horribilis">second announcement</a> of a royal family cancer diagnosis in recent weeks. On February 5, Buckingham Palace <a href="https://www.royal.uk/a-statement-from-buckingham-palace-5Feb24">published a statement</a> that King Charles III had been diagnosed with an undisclosed form of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68208157">cancer, unrelated</a> to the treatment he had been receiving for an enlarged prostate.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3xzKooCaRXU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The statement said that he had begun “regular treatments”. The king postponed all public-facing duties during his treatment, but <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">reportedly continued</a> with his “constitutional role as head of state, including completing paperwork and holding private meetings”.</p> <p>Cancer is the <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer">leading cause of death</a> worldwide. <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/#:%7E:text=The%20cancerous%20cells%20can%20invade,of%20cancer%20during%20their%20lifetime.">One in two</a> people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime – so the condition will affect almost every family. However, many cancers can be cured if, as appears to be the case with the king, the condition is <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-68213383">detected early</a> and treated effectively.</p> <h2>What is cancer?</h2> <p>Our bodies are made up of more than 100 billion cells, and cancer typically starts with changes in a small group of cells – or even a single one.</p> <p>We have different cell types depending upon where in the body they are and the function that the cell has. The size, amount and function of each of these cells is normally tightly regulated by genes – groups of codes held within our DNA – that instruct cells how to grow and divide.</p> <p>However, changes (mutations) to DNA can alter the way cells grow and multiply – often forming a lump, or solid tumour. Cancers can also develop in blood cells, such as white blood cell cancer which is known as leukaemia. This type of cancer does not form solid tumours; instead, the cancer builds up in the blood or sometimes the marrow in the core of bones, where blood cells are produced.</p> <p>In all, there are <a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/how-cancer-starts/types-of-cancer#:%7E:text=For%20example%2C%20nerves%20and%20muscles,of%20cell%20they%20start%20in.">more than 200</a> types of cancer, but all start with mutations in the DNA contained within each and every cell.</p> <h2>What exactly are mutations?</h2> <p>Think of your DNA as a big recipe book, and your genes as individual recipes for making different dishes. Mutations are smudges or missing words from this recipe that can result in key ingredients not being added into the mix.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8BJ8_5Gyhg8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Regardless of the type of cancer or the cells from which it develops, mutations in our genes can result in a cell no longer understanding its instructions.</p> <p>These mutations can happen by chance when dividing, but can also be the result of lifestyle choices such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6141049/">smoking</a>, <a href="https://www.ndph.ox.ac.uk/news/new-genetic-study-confirms-that-alcohol-is-a-direct-cause-of-cancer#:%7E:text=These%20mutations%20both%20disrupt%20the,aldehyde%20dehydrogenase%202%20(ALDH2).">drinking</a>, and <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet">inactivity</a>.</p> <p>Research has found that in order for a normal cell to turn into a cancerous cell, anywhere from <a href="https://www.sanger.ac.uk/news_item/1-10-mutations-are-needed-drive-cancer-scientists-find/">one to ten different mutations</a> are normally required.</p> <h2>How is cancer treated?</h2> <p>Treatment options for cancer depend on a variety of factors, including where your cancer is, how large it is, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The main treatments for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.</p> <p>Chemotherapy uses drugs to target and kill cells that are rapidly dividing in our bodies. This approach is effective at targeting fast-growing cells in various cancers – but also has negative side effects. It also targets healthy cells that rapidly divide, such as hair and the cells lining our digestive system. This can lead to commonly reported <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chemotherapy/side-effects/">side-effects</a> such as hair loss, nausea and diarrhoea.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/chemotherapy?gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw-_mvBhDwARIsAA-Q0Q6tyQxTuBzU7vVD7SHjQ5dF-fRdqnL7S74-k5LXyTqODydsrPfJVsoaAkgyEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Chemotherapy</a> can be used both preventatively – as in the case of the princess – and therapeutically.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FkZn5u3MIiY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Preventative chemotherapy, also known as <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/adjuvant-therapy">adjuvant chemotherapy</a>, is given after surgery or other primary treatments to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the body. It aims to reduce the risk of the cancer returning (known as recurrence).</p> <p>Therapeutic chemotherapy is used as a treatment option for cancer that has spread or is well established, such as advanced-stage cancers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/surgery/about">Surgery</a> involves the physical removal of cancerous tissues as well as nearby lymph nodes – small glands which act as filters in your body that cancers can spread through – to eliminate the tumour. Surgery is often used to remove localised cancers that haven’t spread throughout the body.</p> <p><a href="https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/treatment/radiotherapy">Radiotherapy</a> uses high-energy radiation beams that are able to target specific areas where tumour cells are located to destroy or shrink the tumour. Radiotherapy can be applied externally or internally.</p> <p>Chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy are often combined in cancer treatment to improve outcomes for patients.</p> <p>Thanks to developments in cancer research over the last 50 years, survival rates have improved greatly – although the rate of improvement has <a href="https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2024/02/02/world-cancer-day-2024/#:%7E:text=Improvements%20in%20cancer%20survival%20have%20slowed%20in%20recent%20years&amp;text=Survival%20increased%20three%20to%20five,consistently%20lags%20behind%20comparable%20countries.">slowed recently</a>. Cancer survival depends on various factors such as age – people under 40 have a <a href="https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/age">greater chance</a> of survival – overall health and fitness, as well as family history.</p> <h2>What you should do</h2> <p>Particular changes in your body or warning symptoms could indicate the presence of cancer. These include, but are not limited to:</p> <ul> <li>Unexplained weight loss;</li> <li>Fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest;</li> <li>Changes in bowel or bladder habits;</li> <li>Persistent cough or coughing up blood;</li> <li>Difficulty swallowing;</li> <li>Persistent pain;</li> <li>Noticing lumps, such as in a breast or testicle.</li> </ul> <p>The symptoms may not necessarily be the result of cancer. But it is important to get checked by a doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary or have had persistent symptoms that don’t ease. Early detection and treatment can <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aay9040">significantly improve</a> outcomes for many types of cancer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226456/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/gavin-metcalf-1340598">Gavin Metcalf</a>, Cancer Biologist and Lecturer in Biomedical Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/anglia-ruskin-university-1887">Anglia Ruskin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/princess-of-wales-and-king-charles-one-in-two-people-develop-cancer-during-their-lives-the-diseases-and-treatments-explained-226456">original article</a>.</em></p>

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